August 20, 2009

Quad Cities, IA

By John Thompson
ISC 2009 Hall of Famer Mike Piechnik acknowledged Canadian pitching great Rob Guenther as his mentor- “Rob prepared me for my success – he taught me to have a good work effort and dedication.”
“The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling, and then pick it up.” – Bob Uecker, MLB player and humorist
Yogism - “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”
Saskatoon Aspen pitcher Lucas Mata, core member of the Argentina National Softball Team, struck out 14 batters from Madison Farm Tavern. That in itself, is an accomplishment, but not that unusual. However, half of those Ks were batters “caught looking” as Mata was at his best in baffling Farm batters in moving his Aspen squad to the final four.
Yogism - “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”
Observation – Bruce Bierman’s “Blue Crew”, hand-picked for the 2009 Championships, has NOT been the topic of most conversations. That’s good news – the arbiters of balls/strikes and outs are competently doing their job – very professionally - through 40 games of play. Way to go umps!
“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.” – Jacques Barzun, French diplomat.
“My song should be ‘I’ve been everywhere’ by Johnny Cash” – ISC 2009 HoF member Mike Piechnik when describing his career of journeys among softball clubs. (Note – Mike – this song was also recorded by Hank Snow.)
“I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball” – Pete Rose
A tip of the ball cap to the BallPark Radio/TV crew who are sharing ISC excitement
throughout the world – kudos to Jim Flanagan, Kyle Smith, producer Dave Blackburn and others, plus the camera crew. The product has come a long way over the past few years, and with so many international players, family members from ‘round the globe are tuning in.
Yogism - “How can you hit and think at the same time?”
Are any teams more prepared than the hard-working and ever-ready grounds crews at Green Valley (Moline) and Campbell Complex (Rock Island). The inclement weather – a mixture of humidity giving way to intermittent showers – at times heavy – has played havoc with the scheduling. Two thumbs up – make that four thumbs for the two ground crews – who are providing the best of service to the ISC tournaments to ensure appropriate (and safe) playing conditions for the 64 teams.
In the modern age of fastball (fast-pitch softball), pitchers going the distance are the exception, rather than the rule. The axiom of “five and two” describing the number of innings for a starter (5 innings) and the closer (2 innings – following twice through the batting order), has become a field management standard. Brings to mind the quote from New York Mets’ closer John Franco – “Closing games is a lot like landing airplanes. A successful effort rarely warrants notice, and a failure is considered a full-scale disaster.” 
Our thoughts are with Kitchener Hallman Rivershark Twins field manager, Denny Bruckert (ISC HoF 2008), who was rushed to the hospital from the Isle of Capri Casino on Wednesday afternoon. 

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